Annual Community Meeting – January 28 at 6:00 PM

If the entire Cascadia Subduction zone gives way at once, an event that seismologists call a full-margin rupture, the magnitude will be somewhere between 8.7 and 9.2.

Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.”

In the Pacific Northwest, the area of impact will cover some hundred and forty thousand square miles, including Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Salem (the capital city of Oregon), Olympia (the capital of Washington), and some seven million people. When the next full-margin rupture happens, that region will suffer the worst natural disaster in the history of North America. Roughly three thousand people died in San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake. Almost two thousand died in Hurricane Katrina. Almost three hundred died in Hurricane Sandy. FEMA projects that nearly thirteen thousand people will die in the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. Another twenty-seven thousand will be injured, and the agency expects that it will need to provide shelter for a million displaced people, and food and water for another two and a half million.

— From The Really Big One, published July 20, 2015 in The New Yorker

Verizon Cell Tower Proposed for 5541 Steamboat Island Rd NW

Tallest surrounding trees are about 118 feet high. The proposed tower is 150 feet tall.

Local residents have received notice of a proposal to install a 150-foot tall monopole with six panel antennas “and associated equipment cabinets” on the property of Robert Skillman at 5541 Steamboat Island Rd. NW.

The notice implies that an initial balloon test has already been conducted. In this test, a balloon is hoisted to a height equivalent to that of the proposed tower to assist planners and local residents in assessing the visual impact of the tower with respect to the surrounding landscape. A second balloon test is scheduled for “8 consecutive daylight hours between 7am – 7 pm on January 8, 2016 (primary) or January 22, 2016 (secondary) if weather does not permit the January 8th balloon flight.”

The application is now in its 20-day public comment period. The period expires 4PM on January 6, 2016. During this period, interested parties can ask to be added to a mailing list to receive the findings from the Hearing Examiner, when the Examiner’s decision is made.

We note the second balloon test is scheduled to be run after the public comment period has ended.

During this public comment period, residents may make comments by mail or email to the County’s Resource Stewardship Department. For additional information or to make a comment, contact Scott McCormick, MES, Associate Planner by calling (360) 754-3355, ext. 6372 or email Refer to Project Number “2015107101”. The Resource Stewardship Department is at 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, WA 98502 and online at

End of Public Comment Period: 4 PM January 6
Balloon Test: January 8 or January 22 (weather depending) for eight hours after 7 AM.

Additionally , there will be another 14-day public comment period when the environmental determination is issued. It appears the environmental determination has not yet been made.

Click here to view a copy of the Notice of Application issued by the County.

Click here to view a copy of Verizon’s plan for the installation.

Other items related to this project can be found on this page of the County’s web site. Click here and enter a search for Project Number 2015107101.

As of today, there are no third party reviews of wireless facilities listed on the County’s web page.

Local residents considering opposing this project are encouraged to contact Amy Ramsey at or (360) 878-2755.

Steamboat Conservation Partnership Update

Steamboat Conservation Partnership logoThe Steamboat Conservation Partnership recently released an update to supporters.

“We want to wish you a happy holiday season,” wrote Partnership members Steve Lundin and Peter Reid, “and to remind you of some of the important work supported by your donations to the Capitol Land Trust and the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.”

Our fundraising efforts for Capitol Land Trust have been a huge success. During the first five years of the Partnership, with your help, we raised $81,647. Since the beginning of our second five-year program year on July 1, 2015, we have raised an additional $19,865. Total collections now exceed $100,000!!! Congratulations everyone.

As you know, Capitol Land Trust uses our donations for operating expenses to conserve critical properties in the drainage basins of Eld Inlet and Totten Inlet. This includes expansion of Stewardship funding for the Wynne properties guarantying Capital Land Trust will have the finances to protect this property in perpetuity. In July of this year, we held a very successful gathering of donors at the Randall Preserve, in Mud Bay across the road from Buzz’s Tavern, and toured that property as well as the nearby Allison Springs property. You can view both properties in a recent video that Capitol Land Trust just posted.

Allison Springs Transformed from Kathy Strauss on Vimeo.

The Steamboat Conservation Partnership now has two committees. A planning committee, consisting of 10 residents of our area, who generally meet every other month. This group organizes activities for the Partnership, including providing tours and soliciting contributions. There is also a technical committee, which meets on every other month when the planning committee does not meet. This group studies critical properties in our area and advises the Capitol Land Trust on these properties. Each of the members of the technical committee also serves on the planning committee. Meetings usually last about two hours. Capitol Land Trust staff attend meetings of both groups.

If you are interested in becoming a member of either group, please let us know. You will find participation in these groups to be a very rewarding experience and very valuable for the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.

Set aside Tuesday, February 9, 2016, for the Capitol Land Trust’s 12th Annual Conservation Breakfast at St. Martin’s Marcus Pavilion. Peter and Steve will again be table captains for folks associated with the Steamboat Conservation Partnership. Doors open at 7 a.m. This is a great event, with interesting speakers and an opportunity to hear about the work of Capitol Land Trust and its plans for the future.

Also, remember that time still remains to make a contribution to Capitol Land Trust for the Steamboat Conservation Partnership this tax year. You may make a secure contribution online by clicking this link. Enter your contribution amount as a “Steamboat Conservation Partner.” Please contribute whatever amount you feel appropriate. If you would prefer to contribute by mail, be sure that in the lower left hand side of your check to insert “SCP” in the memo section.  Your contribution should be mailed to the Capitol Land Trust, 209 Fourth Avenue E., Suite 205, Olympia, WA 98501.

–Peter Reid and Steve Lundin

Feline Friends Holiday Bazaar, Cat Adoption Day, and Santa – Saturday, December 5


Click on the image for a larger version.

The annual Feline Friends Holiday Bazaar will be Saturday, December 5th at Griffin Fire Station  from 10am – 3pm. Many of the crafters/artists are from the local area featuring handmade wreaths and Christmas decorations; beautiful gifts for people, pets, gardens and birds; homemade jams, jellies, and seasonings; beautiful jewelry and woodwork to list just a few items. There will also be a raffle and bake sale with goodies donated by friends and neighbors.

Santa will be available for pictures with pets (on leashes only) and children. The coffee is on, so stop by for fun and good cheer.

Feline Friends Holiday Bazaar
Saturday, December 5
10 AM to 3 PM
Griffin Fire Department

The Cat House (6515 Sexton Drive NW) will be open for viewing and adoptions. Many kitties would love to begin the holidays with a forever home and there are so many to choose from.

For more information about Feline Friends, click here.

Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool to Host “Fiesta in December”


Click the photo to view a bigger version.

On Saturday, December 5, the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool will host its annual fundraising dinner at the Griffin School. This year the SICP has joined with Steamboat Grill & Greens to create a taco bar. Olympic Mountain Ice Cream will supply the dessert. There will also be a fun photo booth, arts and crafts for the kids, and a silent auction with many items donated from local businesses.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by calling (360) 866-1819 or at the door the day of the event.

Fiesta in December to benefit the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool
6:00 PM
Saturday, December 5
Griffin School

Since 1972, the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool has provided an exceptional early learning experience for the children of our peninsula. Click here for more information about the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool.

Steamboat Grill & Greens to Host Fundraiser for Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool

201509_SICP_fundraiserSteamboat Grill & Greens (formerly Steamboat Annie’s) is hosting a fundraiser to benefit the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool. For food purchases on Tuesday, September 29, Steamboat Grill & Greens will make a donation to the SICP.

On Tuesday, just mention that you’re there to benefit the preschool.

Fundraiser for Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool
Tuesday, September 29, 11 AM to 8 PM
Steamboat Grill & Greens
3634 Steamboat Island Rd. NW

There will be a limited menu of burgers, veggie burgers, fries, shakes, and eggrolls. But if you’ve visited Steamboat Grill & Greens, you probably know even a limited menu is one of the best drive-in menus you’ll find.

Are you familiar with the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool? Operating since 1972, SICP has offered an outstanding experience for children just starting their school years. It’s a school where past students are now enrolling their own kids! Three different classes provide programs for children ages 2 to 3 years (the Chipmunk class), 3 to 4 years (Otter class), and 4 to 5 years (Orca class).

“Our goal is to provide a balanced preschool program for the whole child, by providing opportunities and activities that will nurture children’s physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development.”

Led by a professional teacher, with parent involvement overseen through a program by the South Puget Sound Community College, SICP gives parents the opportunity to take part in their child’s early education.

The Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool is one of the local institutions that make living here on the Steamboat Peninsula so good. We welcome the chance to support the SICP in this way and thank Steamboat Grill & Greens for their donation.

In September, Thoughts Turn to Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness Expo

Click for a larger view.

Tennyson wrote, “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” It’s fall now and the thoughts of residents in the Pacific Northwest turn to winter preparedness. This year, in addition to checking the wood supply and tuning up the generator, why not spend a little time preparing for something more than just winter? On Saturday, September 26, Thurston County Emergency Management is hosting its annual Emergency Preparedness Expo. This is a great opportunity to meet with equipment vendors and local agencies who are planning not only for winter, but for something far more challenging.

Emergency Preparedness Expo
Saturday, September 26, 20155
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Yelm High School

Here on the Steamboat Peninsula, we’re used to preparing for a few days without electricity or a few days with limited access to nearby cities. In a disaster, though, we know we’ll need to be prepared for one, two, or three weeks on our own. The Emergency Preparedness Expo is a great one-stop solution to address planning and equipment needs.

Our own disaster preparedness web page provides a wealth of information to assist in preparing your own home for something more difficult than an emergency. Our web page goes a step further, too. Disaster preparedness requires a plan that includes working with some of your neighbors a block or two in any direction from your home. Our web page includes tips and links to other resources you can use to plan with your neighbors for “the big one.”

In February, 2001, a landslide took out a section of US-101 and residents had to travel through McCleary to get from Olympia to the Steamboat Peninsula. A big earthquake is not only likely to take out bridges on US-101 in both directions, it’s expected a good sized quake would cut off portions of this peninsula as Steamboat Island Road, itself, could be made impassable.

September is National Preparedness Month. Don’t be caught off-guard. The Emergency Preparedness Expo is a great way to start your planning.

The Way It Was: Griffin Area Pre-School 3 (Now More Than 4) Decades Ago

SICP_Open_HouseThough I had grown up in the Griffin area, I found when we moved into our half-finished new home in 1971 that I really knew very few “younger” people. So when Mrs. Groeschell, Scot’s kindergarten teacher, mentioned that there was a group of mothers interested in starting a preschool, I was curious — even if Greg was only twenty months old.

It was in the days when Evergreen-State College was just getting under way and there were many new families of staff and faculty moving into the area. They were accustomed to a more urban life style and missed having next-door neighbors and organized opportunities for young children. In a matter of weeks a group of women were meeting semi-weekly in homes, exchanging experiences with preschools in other areas, talking philosophy of childrearing, drinking coffee and just getting acquainted.

I believe it was Sandy Nisbet who first met with Griffin principal Eunice Carter, to present our proposal for utilizing the unused portable building behind the school (now one of the maintenance sheds) to house the prospective Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool Permission. The request was granted by the Griffin school board.

Now the work really began! We started moving out lumber scraps, broken chairs and miscellaneous “junk”. Then came the cleaning, painting and decorating. (Greg always did like having the left-over Winnie-the-Pooh wallpaper from his bedroom in the new “story comer”). Soon appeared the block area, painting place and housekeeping space all furnished with donated items from members and the supportive community.

It was time to get the fathers involved. The outside play area was their project. As with everything else, it was done on shoestring. There was a sandbox, a jungle-gym made of used tires bolted together, the ever-popular old wooden rowboat, and the low, peeled-pole territorial fence that doubled as a balance beam. It was as much to keep our little ones in as to keep out the curious grade school students.

We now had a name, bylaws, a building, two teachers, two sessions of eager students and many involved parents. It was March 1972 and school was open! Out of those six months of hard work had come new friends, new parenting skills, new opportunities for our children and a legacy of learning and laughter for years to come.

By Marilyn Calkins

Reprinted from the March 1999 issue of “Neighbors”, the newsletter of the Griffin Neighborhood Association. This is part of a series of articles reprinted from earlier publications in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Griffin Neighborhood Association.

This Saturday, August 8, from 10 AM to 12 noon, Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool will host an Open House. Interested families can meet Teacher Alex, tour the classroom, see the new play area, and chat with other preschool families!

Visit the school’s web site at for more information.

Griffin Area Schools

Griffin School wideEducation is now provided in the Griffin area by the Griffin School District, the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool, and home education.

Historically, a number of different public school districts have educated children in the Griffin area. These school districts were created by Thurston County in the early years of Washington Territory and statehood.

Initially, the Griffin community was included the Olympia School District which was created by the first Board of County Commissioners for all of Thurston County. Although this school district was countywide, its schoolhouse was constructed in Olympia and probably only the few white school children living in that town attended the school.

Thurston County soon created additional school districts throughout the county as settlers moved throughout Thurston County. More and more school districts were created as settlers moved to more remote areas. Mud Bay School District was formed around 1870 and served all of the northwestern portion of the county, including the Griffin community. The primary schoolhouse was located on John McLane’s claim off of what now is known as Delphi Road. However, it appears that the school district operated a school in the late 1870’s at the log cabin of John and Ella Olson, which was located in what is now called the Holiday Valley Estates. Schneider’s Prairie School District was created in 1881, occupying all of what was then known as the Griffin peninsula. The Summit Lake School was also created in 1881, occupying the area around Summit Lake.Read More